Five Tips On How To Help Patients With Dental Anxiety

Published on
April 15, 2024
No items found.


Are you someone who fears going to the dentist? Do you constantly have anxiety when you visit your dentist? If so, do you wonder what are some tips that could help you with dental anxiety?

There is no doubt that Dental anxiety is a real issue that can prevent people from seeking the dental care they need. This can lead to greater oral health problems in the future, including gum disease and tooth decay.

The good news is that there are many steps a dentist can take to help their patients relax and overcome their fears. In this article, we’ll explore five tips for helping patients with dental anxiety. So without further ado, let's dive right into it.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Before we talk all about five effective tips on how to deal with dental anxiety, let us begin by talking in depth about what it really is and how it affects a person's well-being. In simple words, Dental anxiety is defined as a feeling of fear or apprehension experienced when visiting the dentist. It's estimated that up to 75% of people in the United States suffer from some degree of dental anxiety, making it one of the most common phobias in our society today. Dental anxiety can range from mild to severe. People with mild dental anxiety may feel anxious and uncomfortable in the dentist's office, while those with severe dental anxiety may avoid the dentist altogether out of fear and dread.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

Now that you know what dental anxiety is, you may be asking yourself what are some of the major causes of dental anxiety. To answer your question, there are a number of reasons why someone might develop dental anxiety. For many, their fear is rooted in a negative experience they had with a dentist in their past.

This could be due to pain or discomfort during treatment, feeling embarrassed or judged by the dentist or staff, or having an unexpected outcome after receiving treatment.

Additionally, some people may have had parents or caregivers who instilled fear in them regarding going to the dentist. No matter what the source of the fear is, it's important to remember that everyone's experience is different and that it's possible to reduce dental anxiety with the help of your dentist.

Impact of Dental Anxiety

Unfortunately, dental anxiety can have serious implications for oral health. People who avoid going to the dentist are more likely to experience cavities and gum disease because they are not receiving regular preventive care or treatments for existing issues.

Additionally, individuals with severe dental anxiety may only seek care when their condition has deteriorated to the point where it requires invasive treatments like root canals or extractions, which can be painful and costly.

Finally, avoiding needed treatments also increases the risk of other medical conditions related to poor oral hygiene, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and even certain types of cancer.

Tips on how to help patients

Now that you have understood what dental anxiety is let us take a look at five effective tips to help patients who suffer from anxiety.

1. Create a Calm Environment

Creating a calm, soothing atmosphere in the office can go a long way toward reducing dental anxiety. You can do this by having gentle music playing in the background, displaying calming artwork on the walls, and using essential oils to create a calming scent in the room.

These simple changes will help create an environment where patients feel relaxed and safe. Moreover, you could also try to introduce fun and engaging things in your dental office, such as magazines, television, Rubik's cube, board games, and much more to help patients who are feeling anxious and have anxiety.

By having all these things, patients could take their minds off of intrusive and negative thoughts and concentrate on other things. At the end of the day, you want to ensure that as soon as patients walk through the door, they are welcomed in a calming and comfortable environment.

2. Allow Patients Time to Adjust

When first meeting with a patient, allow them time to adjust to the office environment and get comfortable with their surroundings before getting started. This will help them become more comfortable with you and your staff and allow them to relax before beginning treatment.

In addition to that, it is important for dentists to communicate openly and honestly with their patients about any anxieties they may have about their upcoming appointments.

This could involve discussing any negative past experiences that may have caused them to develop dental anxiety or simply asking them questions about what makes them feel uncomfortable during treatments. By being open and understanding, dentists can help put patients at ease before they even enter the office.

3. Talk About Fear

Talking about fear is one of the most important steps you can take when helping patients with dental anxiety. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that it’s okay to be afraid. Give them reassurance that you understand what they’re going through and will do everything possible to make sure they are comfortable during their visit.

4. Use Distraction Techniques

Distraction techniques can also be helpful in reducing dental anxiety in patients. For example, you may want to provide headphones so they can listen to music while you’re treating them or offer them stress balls or other items that they can fiddle with during treatment. You can also talk with them throughout the procedure or show them videos or pictures of relaxing scenes on an iPad or tablet to help keep their mind off of what’s happening in the chair.

5. Offer Sedation Options

Now you may be asking, "What Is Sedation Dentistry?" Well Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry or conscious sedation dentistry, is a type of dental care that uses drugs or other agents to induce a state of relaxation in the patient. This state of relaxation helps to reduce anxiety and makes the dental experience more comfortable and pleasant for those with dental fear or phobia. Sedation can be used for all types of dental procedures, from routine cleanings to complex surgeries. That is why for more extreme cases of dental anxiety, you may want to consider offering sedation options such as nitrous oxide or oral sedation medications for your patients. This will help keep them relaxed throughout the procedure and ensure that they don’t experience any unnecessary pain or discomfort.


Dental anxiety is a real issue that affects many patients and can prevent them from seeking necessary dental care. By taking steps such as creating a calming environment, allowing time for adjustment, talking about fear, providing distraction techniques, and offering sedation options when needed, dentists can make sure their patients feel relaxed during their visits and receive the quality care they deserve.